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Joyce Meyer - Freedom Of Self-Control



Let me say it again. It's doing what's right when we don't particularly feel like doing what's right that's gonna produce the best results in our life, or I like to say it like this, choosing to do what's right when the right thing is still not happening to you, choosing to treat somebody good who's still not really treating you the way they should, choosing to forgive somebody over and over who just seems to be oblivious to the fact that they're even hurting you. But if we do what God is asking us to do, come on, your walk with God is not about everybody else.

My walk with God is not about everybody else. My walk with God is about my walk with God. And when he comes back, Romans 14:12 says, "Every man will stand before God and give an account of his own life". All those other people that you're worried about that need to change or all the people that I worried about that I thought needed to change, God's not gonna ask me one question about any of them. Amen? He's not gonna ask me why they didn't do this. We're not gonna have a conversation about Dave, me and God, when I get there. We're not gonna have a conversation about thus and so neighbor that maybe I don't like. We're only gonna have a conversation between us.

And it has really helped me to realize, and I say this to myself a lot, I'm responsible for me. I am responsible for God for me. That helps me not to feel that I have to have so many opinions about what everybody else is doing. It helps me to remember that I don't need to get into their business because I'm only responsible for me. I'm responsible for my attitude, not somebody else's. I can pray for people. I can share with people if the door's open to share but we can't make anybody else do what's right. We can only cooperate with God and let him help us do what's right and when we do, then we will get a reward in our life irregardless of what's going on anywhere else.

John 8:36, "If the son sets you free, you shall be really, and truly, and genuinely free". But what does it mean to be free? Well, it doesn't mean that you're free to do anything you want to, anytime you want to. Actually, the truth is is you are already free do that. It's kind of interesting to me how people fight for it to be free today and actually, God already set people free in the very beginning when he said, "I set before you life and death, choose". So, we're already free but everything comes with a consequence. Every seed that we sow comes with some kind of a harvest in our life.

And I was thinking this morning, I think about this often, the problem today is a lot of people wanna do what they please, but then they don't want to have to deal with the consequences. And see, you just can't do that. You just can't do that. Yes, you can do all kinds of stuff, but you will have consequences. And so, we have to start making choices in our lives. And we don't have to, we get to start making choices in our lives that are even though the choice, right now, might not be the most comfortable thing on our flesh, we know that it will produce a great result later on down the road, okay?

I'll give you just a simple example and I'll use eating because we all understand examples of eating, don't we? We understand self-control and eating. How many understand self-control and eating? Okay, we ate at a restaurant here yesterday and they just had the best lobster bisque soup. Now, it's good but it's also very fattening. And so, I mean, it was smooth. It was creamy. I mean, it had just the right amount of flavor. You're thinking, where is it? And so, I always have Dave order stuff so I can eat some of it, you know, that way then it's not mine. I didn't order it. I ordered the salad. "Dave, you get the soup". And so, I ate some of it. I didn't eat all of it, but I ate some of it.

And so, this morning I'm thinking, "Man, maybe I'll just get a bowl of that myself today". And then I'm thinking, "No, I really don't wanna do that". See, I do wanna do it but I don't wanna do it and the reason I don't wanna do it is because I don't want to gain weight. So, I pretty much know what I can eat, and what I can't eat and maintain the weight that I want to have. I can eat good. I enjoy what I eat, but I can't eat everything that I'd like to have. So, you see, I wanna go eat more soup, creamy soup that you can smell the calories in because, you know, when anything is that creamy, that it's full of cream and butter. Amen?

And so, I want more soup. Maybe Dave will get it again and I can have one bite today. I want more soup, but... Now, here's the thing. I want you to listen. But more than I want the soup... See, I'm guess I'm asking you today, what do you want more? More than I want the soup, I want to maintain the same weight that I'm at now. And so, we're always gonna want more than one thing. Your flesh wants one thing, the spirit wants something else. But today I'm asking you to start thinking about not what you want right this moment. Well, not what you want right this moment, 'cause you know what? It's gonna taste good and that's gonna last all of about 30 seconds and then that's gone.

And then here's the way the flesh is, "Well, you didn't gain any weight, do it again. Oh, you're good. You didn't gain any weight, do it again. Oh, you didn't gain any weight, do it again". And then all of a sudden, "That cleaners must have shrunk my pants. I don't"... Come on, is anybody out there? And so, I've learned that I cannot have everything I want. You're looking at me like, "Really"? I cannot have everything I want. I can have some things that I want but see, I'm free to not have to let my flesh control me and dictate to me what I'm gonna do.

Now listen, I don't have to do everything I want to do. I'm free to do what I really know in my spirit is gonna be the best thing for me long term. I'mma go back over there and rewind and say that again. Boy, come on. I'm free not to have to do everything that I wanna do. That's why I call this the freedom of self-control because when you talk about self-control, people think right away, "Well, that's not freedom. That's bondage". Because we mistakenly think that to be free means, "I can do whatever I wanna do anytime I wanna do it and have no consequences", and that's just not even according to spiritual law. The Bible says from cover to cover we will reap what we sow.

I'm gonna tell ya a secret this morning and some of you would prefer another answer but you're here so I might as well tell ya. You're here so I might as well tell ya the truth. You can change a lot of things in your life and you can change them pretty fast if you're willing to start making some different decisions. And it's true. Some of you could see some big changes if you would just make some different choices in who you hang out with all the time. That side of the room don't like that.

Some of you could make some big changes if you made... You know, get around some happy people. Get around some people that are full of the Spirit of God. Get around some people that are gonna encourage you and build you up. Get around some people that behave a little better than you, not people that behave worse than you. Get around somebody that can be an example to you and you think, "Man, I wanna come up higher". Get around some generous people. Don't hang out with a bunch of stingy, selfish, self-centered people all the time. Amen? I'mma say it one more time. I feel like I got everything on repeat this morning. You could see some things in your life change pretty fast if you would just make a decision today to change an attitude, forgive, stop complaining.

Oh, I'm getting a little faint something out there every once if a while. Amen. You say, "Man, I didn't come here this morning to get beat up". I'm not beating you up. I'm telling you what you need to hear, may not wanna hear, but need to hear. You know, there's a good example in the Bible if I can come across this scripture here real quick when Paul was talking to Felix and Felix wanted him to teach him to talk to him about some different things. And so, Paul started talking to him about righteousness, and all these different things. And I still haven't found it yet, so there it is.

Acts 24:24 and 25. Acts 24:24 and 25, "Some days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess: and he sent for Paul and listened to him talk about faith", we don't mind that, "Uprightness". That's good. "Purity of life, the control of our passions, and the judgment that's gonna come. And Felix became alarmed and terrified and said, go away for the present: and when I have a convenient opportunity, I'll send for you". That's kinda the way we are. If what we're hearing is not kind of what we wanna hear right then or if it's something that pushes a button that we're not wanting to deal with in our life.

"Man, Joyce, did you have to go talking about appetite? I don't wanna talk about appetite". And, you know, when I talk about appetite, really it's not just food. It's all of our appetites. It's our appetite to own things, to buy things, to spend money, to have more, to be more powerful. It's just the lust in the world. And you can lust after anything and lust basically means that you want something so bad that you're just pretty sure you can't be happy without it. It's not wrong to want something but it is wrong to lust after anything to think, "I have to have that or I can't be happy". And there was even a time for me in my life where I felt like, "If my ministry doesn't grow and I can't do what I feel like that God has put in my heart, then I just cannot be happy".

Well, you know, that's silly because if we think we have to have God give us something to be happy and we can't be happy with him, then there's something missing along the way that we need to go back and fix. "Well, if I can't get married, I just won't be happy. Well, if my husband doesn't change, I can't be happy". Well, then our joy's in all the wrong things, and we need to get it uprooted out of that and replanted in something else. And I'll tell ya, Felix, I'm sure, needed to hear about the control of his passions, but he said, "Oh no, this is not a good time. This is not a good time".

And you might be thinking this morning, I don't know, you know, "Look, I'm hurting. I've got some problems in my life. This is not a good time for me to hear this. I wanted you to just love on me this morning, pat me on the head and tell me how wonderful I am". You are. We love you. You're amazing. You're handsome. You're pretty. You're beautiful. You're anointed. You're good. And you need self-control.

Alright, let me just tell ya that self-control really is an amazing freedom. You see, I'm so glad that I've worked through a lot of these things and now I know that if I really wanna eat something, I'll eat it but if I don't, I don't have to. I'm not controlled by a cookie, or a piece of pie, or a bowl of soup, or having to get a new outfit, or whether or not my husband decides to play golf. I'm not controlled by all those other things and you don't have to be either. Amen?

You can have the freedom of controlling yourself realizing that you're only gonna answer to God for you. We let what other people do control us way more than what we should. Amen? How many of you have ever started out, you're having a good day and you get around somebody, maybe somebody in your family that you love and man, they got up on the wrong side of the bed and they're not happy? And all of a sudden now because they're not happy and they say a couple things to you, now you're not happy and all of a sudden, your whole day is ruined because they decided that they didn't wanna be happy. Ever had that situation?

Well see, we don't have to live like that. No matter what somebody else does, we can control ourselves if we really want to. One of the biggest favors that Dave did me that about drove me crazy... But I was a very unhappy person for a lot of the first few years that we were married because I had a lot of wounds in my soul that had not been dealt with and taken care of. And, you know, it's really a lot of times, it's our secrets that make us sick. It's all this stuff in us that we're not dealing with and we're kind of like Felix, "No, this is not the right time. No, I'm not ready to deal with that yet".

And so, unhappy people want to make other people unhappy. Have you ever noticed that? If a person's not happy, they're not happy just to be unhappy themselves, they want somebody else to be unhappy with them. When I worried, I wanted Dave to worry. I didn't want him to be in there watching TV with the kids and enjoying his night. If I was worried about the bills, I wanted him to come out and sit with me and worry about the bills. If I was unhappy, I wanted him to be unhappy.

But you know what? Dave would never let me make him unhappy and that made me so mad. It just infuriated me because people that are like that, they use temper to control other people. I grew up in a house like that with my father and I continued that behavior until I learned that it was ungodly and it was not what God wanted me to do. God doesn't give us self-control so we can control anybody other than ourselves.

Have you ever noticed there's no fruit of controlling others? Ha, ha, ha. Self-control is not legalism. It is Spirit-led management of your life. And you get to make all these decisions. Nobody else really has to come along and tell you what you can and can't do. Each one of us is responsible to be led by the spirit and let the Spirit of God lead each one individually in what they should do. I don't know, maybe you could go eat four bowls of soup today every day with all the cream in the world in it and never gain weight, but I can't and so I need to make a choice not to. But then because I choose not to, it's not my place to judge you because you decide you're going to.

The person who has no self-control always ends up with nothing. The person who has no discipline, no self-control, never ends up with what they want. Self-control is actually our friend. Do you know why? It's actually one of the best gifts that God has given us the ability to say yes to what we truly wanna say yes to and no to what we truly wanna say no to. And I say truly because sometimes we can want two things at the same time. See, that's the fight between the spirit and the flesh. Sometimes I can want to do it, but yet I don't want to do it.

And so, we have to learn that our flesh can want something that our spirit is saying, "No, that's not the best thing for you", and learn how to go with the spirit. And when we learn how to follow those leadings and promptings of the Holy Spirit, that's when we're truly free. Nobody's really free if you think you can do everything you wanna do and never get a bad result. So, it's not legalism. It's spirit-led management of all of your passions. Discipline and self-control helps us become the person that we truly want to be but never will be without that discipline.

Let's look at the ten virgins, the five foolish and the five wise. Matthew 25, verse 1, "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent)". See, they had no forethought. They didn't think ahead about what their lack of preparation was gonna mean to them later on in life. They were foolish. They didn't think ahead about what their choices were gonna mean later on.

I can't tell you how many people are destroying their lives by just doing something so foolish just for some temporary, fleshly zing. Let me tell ya, we pay a high price for low living. Amen? There is a high cost for low living. But if we choose the high life, then we can have a great relationship with God and his reward will come in our life. So, when we're feeling that war between the flesh and the spirit and we wanna do this, we wanna do it, we wanna do it. But inside, "No, no, no, no". Stop for a minute and think. Have some forethought, "If I do this now, what is it going to mean later"?

Well, of course, the devil's temptation is always, "You can get by with it". Or, "Just this once". Boy, that's a big lie, isn't it? You know, the devil told Jesus that same lie whenever he was fasting for 40 days and was out in the wilderness being tempted by the enemy in Luke chapter 4? "If you'll bow down and worship me just once, just once, I'll give you all this". But the "Just once" turns into twice, and then three times, and four times, and so on and so forth.

Let me say that again, you can change a lot of what's going on in your life and you can greatly affect your future. You being here today can greatly affect your future if you will begin to think about some of the things that you need to decide to do or decide not to do. And I don't know who I'm talking to today. Maybe you're in here, maybe you're watching by TV, but I sense in my spirit right now that there are some people, you are on the verge of making some really bad decisions just because of a passion in your flesh, a temptation that's coming your way. And I believe that God is trying to speak to you today to say, "Don't do it. Think, think about what this is gonna mean for your future".

You know, I remember one time I was in a Christian bookstore and there was a little breadbox thing with a slot in it. They were collecting money for hungry kids or something and at first I thought... This is just the difference in the flesh and the spirit. At first I thought, "Well, I'll just put the change I'm getting in there". And then the next thought I had was, "Well, I don't have to do that. I give in church all the time". And then the Holy Spirit said to me, "You don't have to but you can".

And see, that's the thing. There's a lot of things we don't have to do in order to go to heaven. But we can do them and when we do, it will produce a much better life for us here in this realm. There's a lot of things that I don't have to do to get to heaven but there are some things I'm gonna choose to do so I can live in the Promised Land that God talks about in his word. Do you want a better life? How many of you want a better life? Now, we want a better life. Okay, I'm gonna say it again. You can make some choices. C'mon, this is a little better than I thought it might be. You can make some choices today. And then, of course, when you make a good choice, then the next trick is sticking with it, isn't it?

It's so easy to go on a diet on Sunday after dinner. The trick is staying on it by Wednesday when you're hungry. It's so easy to commit to exercise. I mean, we buy equipment, we sign up at the gym. I know a guy that owns a gym and he said, "60% of the people that pay a fee every month never come". Well, why do they just keep paying the fee? Because they keep thinking, "I'll go next month. I'll go the next time". Sixty percent of the people. Good intentions is not obedience.

Self-control is your friend. Everybody say that, "Self-control is my friend". And anytime somebody talks about self-control, don't ever groan. If you're gonna clap and cheer over any message, if you're ever anywhere again and somebody says, "We're gonna talk about self-control tonight", you shout and clap and cheer like it's gonna be the best message you've ever heard in your whole life. You say, "Man, I love that message 'cause it's gonna help me be what I wanna be. It's gonna help me be the person that God wants me to be".

Well, Fruit of the Spirit comes into us as seed so we all have self-control. Believe it or not, you have patience. I have to remind myself of that all the time. "The Fruit of the Spirit", Galatians 5:22, "Is love, joy, peace, patience (an even temper), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness), self-control (self-restraint, and continence)". And all those who are guided by the Holy Spirit will manifest the Fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25 says, "If we live by the Holy Spirit, let us walk by the Holy Spirit. If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Holy Spirit". Now, let me talk to you for a minute about this: the Holy Spirit wanting to control us. The thing is, is the devil will force control on us. God invites us. The Holy Spirit is saying today, "I'm a little bit smarter than you are, Joyce. I know a little more than you do. If you follow me, you'll end up in the right place. If you follow your flesh, you're not gonna like the end result".

The Holy Spirit won't force control on you but he wants every person here today to say, "I want you to guide me. I want you to lead me, and I want you to show me what you want me to do. I wanna be guided by you. Give me the grace to do what you want me to do". We make choices all the time and every one of those choices either take us closer to God or further away from him. Every choice that we make, your choice to be here today, takes you closer in your walk with God.

They told me that some lady flew here by herself from Alaska just to be in this conference. You know what? I mean, it amazes me the stuff that, and you know why she did that? She didn't do that just 'cause she came to see what I look like in person. God put it on her heart, I'm sure, to be here and I'm sure she could have thought of 95 different reasons, "Well, I don't wanna go by myself. And I won't know anybody. And it's gonna be expensive. And blah, blah, blah". But if we can just lay aside all the excuses for why we think we can't do what God's telling us to do and just begin to let the Holy Spirit guide us, we'll always end up in the right place at the right time. But it's all about choices. Choices, choices, choices.

I'm pretty fond of Ephesians 2:10. It says, "For we are God's own handiwork (his workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew that we might do those good works which God predestined (and planned beforehand) for us taking paths which he prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them living the good life which he prearranged and made ready for us to live". So, look, I mean, how complicated is that? Jesus said, "I died and provided a great life for you, every one of you. You, you, you, you, you. You, you, you, you". Jesus died and he's already prepared and prearranged a great life for every single one of us. He says he's laid the path out.

Now all we need to do is walk in it. Walk in it. And every step that we take basically equates to a decision that we make. Your decision to be here today will produce good results in your life. Your decision to forgive somebody who hurt you will produce good results in your life. Your decision to save a portion of everything that you make now will give you really good result later on when you're older and then you won't have to be concerned about how you're going to be taken care of.

Your decision to give on a regular basis will pay so many benefits in your life because it's one of the most major godly principles in the Bible from cover to cover, you reap what you sow. A decision to go the extra mile, a decision to get to work on time and to work hard while you're there. That's what gets people promoted, amen? C'mon, don't act like Felix. Decisions, decisions. The narrow path and the broad path, don't you like those scriptures in Matthew chapter 7:13 and 14? Let's look at those. Matthew 7:13 and 14. He said there's a narrow path and a broad one. Which do you wanna be on?

"Enter through the narrow gate: for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it". You won't be lonely on the broad path but on this path you may be. "The gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who are finding it". Many years ago when I was reading this scripture I said to the Lord one time, I said, "I just feel like my path gets narrower and narrower all the time".

In other words, I felt like every time I turned around there was something else God was letting me know that I shouldn't be doing anymore. You know, you start out over here as a baby Christian and I mean, we still got so much baggage in our life and things that we shouldn't be doing but we don't even know. Because God deals with us one thing at a time. One thing at a time. And that's what I love about him. He never overloads us with everything that we need to change all at one time. One thing at a time. He shows us one thing at a time. And all you have to be concerned about is what God is dealing with you about right now.

You don't need to be concerned about what he's dealing with everybody else about. You don't need to be concerned, I mean, I want you to listen to everything I say today but I don't want anybody to go home and try to do everything I'm saying all at one time. You need to take it to prayer and say, "Now, God, where do you want me to start? Give me a starting point. What is it that you want to do in my life and I wanna cooperate with you in that". One step at a time, one thing at a time. And so you go a little bit further on the path and now, all of a sudden, this path is getting narrower and there's some things that you could keep with you back here that all of a sudden don't fit now.

And then you wanna go on with God, so now you're about here and now all of a sudden, you know, back here it may be you gotta lose that attitude. Then over here somewhere it's, like, okay, it's time to deal with your past. And then over here it's, "Okay, Joyce, now you know, really, you can't be pitiful and powerful. It's time to lose that self-pity". C'mon, is anybody home here? Choices, all choices. Now can I feel sorry for myself all my life and go to heaven? I think I can 'cause I don't think my salvation is based on whether or not I feel sorry for myself. But if I keep doing what God has shown me not to do, then I cannot expect to have the powerful life that I say that I want to have.

So as I murmured often to God, "I just don't understand, God. There are so many things that you won't let me do that I see other people do that are Christians". C'mon, have you ever had that conversation with God? "Why are you so tough on me and, I mean, they go to those movies. They do this. They say that. They muttering but if I do that, you're all over me". And you know what God said to me? "Look, Joyce, you've asked me for a lot. Do you want it or not"? So I might as well just be honest with you and tell you, for the person who wants all that Jesus died to give you, your path is gonna be more narrow even than some other people that you might know but, once again, we're not responsible for anybody but us, amen? Not responsible for anybody but us.

You probably heard me say this, but it just seemed like, I mean, the first, I dunno, 25 years of my walk with God, I just felt like God was just dealing with me about something constantly. You're so glad, aren't you? And I will tell you that things are easier for me now. And they will get easier. But the longer you walk with God, the more you realize of the just the utter foolishness of arguing with him. It's not gonna do any good because he will get his way in the end or you will stay right where you're at. It's just that simple. But I so didn't wanna be the only one that God was dealing with because I saw the problems other people had. C'mon, I mean, I saw their problems. And I wanted to help them fix their problems and I wanted God to deal with them about their problems. C'mon, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

And boy, was it so hard on me when God would keep dealing with me and dealing with me and dealing with me, and they just acted like... And I can remember going to Dave and saying, "Um, I was just wondering, is God dealing with you about anything"? 'cause I especially wanted God to deal with Dave. I wanted Dave to be nicer to me and not play so many sports and, you know, all the stuff that we don't like. We always want everybody to give up what we don't like, right? Amen? If I don't like that, then you need to give it up. And I still remember exactly where I was at in the house. We lived in Summerlake, I was on the steps, and you walked by and I said, "I just wonder, has God been dealing with you about anything"? 'Cause I really felt he needed to be dealt with.

And I remember he got this kind of blank look on his face. He said, "Well, I don't think so". And that stuff used to make me so mad. But see, I understand now and I want you to understand today, God doesn't want you worrying about anybody else. C'mon, God doesn't want you worrying about what he's doing with anybody else because when it all comes down to it, you're not gonna have to answer for them. Oh, this is so good. Self-control. 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 3 through 7. It's a process, isn't it? And you know what, I'll be honest with you. I don't think God cares at all that we haven't arrived. He just wants us to be pressing on. We won't arrive as long as we're in this fleshly body.

Paul said, "I've not arrived but one thing I do, I'm pressing toward the Mark". And I'm so proud of you because you're pressing toward the Mark. Even if you're sitting at home and you watch the program all the way through, I'm proud of you that you didn't turn it off because I was talking about self-control. I mean, it's easy at home to get rid of me. It's harder in here. You wanna get rid of me at home, all you gotta do is just, pftt! However, you might find me on the next channel too. 2 Peter 1:3, "For his divine power has bestowed upon us all things that are requisite and suited to life and Godliness".

So get this, his promises, his power, his promises, have provided for us everything that's necessary to live a wonderful life. And then the next sentence is important, and it comes "Through the full, personal knowledge of him". You can't have what God wants you to have based on your grandma's faith. You can't have it because you've got a pastor that really knows God. It has to come through full personal knowledge of him. And you know what that takes? Time. "Who has called us", to what? "His own glory and excellence".

You know, glory is the manifestation of all the excellencies of God. We all wanna see the glory of God in our lives. We wanna see his excellence and he wants to show us his excellence but he also wants us to choose to be excellent. Boy, there's so much of that lacking in the world today. So much of it. I've just been dealing with a situation and this goes on all the time in the world today and it's so different than the way it was even 50 years ago. You know, 50 years ago, I mean, the majority of people, even people that weren't Christians, generally kept their word.

I mean, that was just something that people just did. It was the honorable thing to do. You kept your word. And people who owned businesses, I mean, they did a good job because they wanted to get business again. And they, if they had an appointment, they showed up when they were supposed to be there because they wanted you to choose them again. But today, people don't seem to think that they have to earn your business. It's almost like, they're doing you a favor by standing there when you come into the store. "You want me to get off the phone and wait on you? Really"?

So I've been dealing with this situation at a furniture store where, over the years, I've spent a fair amount of money. And at this particular store, they, when you buy furniture, they provide you with a decorator free of charge to help you get it all in the right place and, you know, do all this stuff. And so in the process of that, she recommended a few things that I wouldn't have thought of. And so I ended up spending a little more money which I'm sure is part of their plan but it worked on me. And she did have good ideas, some things that I thought, "Yeah, it is gonna look better".

And so, long story short, I had to leave. I was going out of town. And she was gonna send me the information by email, the rest of the information I needed. Well, months now have gone by and I have text three different times telling her I've never gotten the information. Each time, she'll call me back, "Oh, I'll send that to you by Wednesday". "Oh, I'm sorry, I'll send it this afternoon". "Oh, I'm really sorry, I had an emergency". I'm thinking, "You must live in emergency". And finally I just thought, "I ain't Messing with this. I'm not doing it. I'm not gonna do that".

And it is so frustrating when people steal our time and I know you feel the same way. It's so frustrating when people steal our time because they don't wanna make the choices to do what they should do. And this is just my personal encouragement to all of us today and I'm reminding myself as well. If we are gonna call ourselves Christians and put bumper stickers on our car and wear crosses around our neck and carry big Bibles and go to conferences, can we at least try to do what we say that we're gonna do? I mean, that would just be the very bottom line of where we could try to start, is just keeping our word.

And you know, my mouth still gets me in trouble. I say that I'm gonna do things and then later I think, "Why did I say I was gonna do that? I do not wanna do that". But I'm committed to keep my word and so I'll do it, even if I don't want to and hopefully, I'll learn the next time to think a little bit more before I open my yapper and say that I'll do it. I mean, even little things like, "Yeah, I'll call you, we'll go lunch". Half the time, we're just trying to get rid of somebody. "Oh, I'll call you back this afternoon". We need to do what we say that we're gonna do. And if we're not faithful in little things, we'll never be made ruler over much. Little things, amen? C'mon, amen? What else do I wanna say to you?

Oh, I cannot leave this out. 1 Corinthians 6:12, "Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me: but not all things are helpful (and good for me to do, and expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power". Isn't that a great scripture? So here's the bottom line of what I'm telling you today. You can do whatever you wanna do but every choice that we make brings with it some kind of result. And the good seeds that we sow today we may not see a harvest for a good while down the road. But you're gonna have the satisfaction of knowing that you did what you believed that you should have done.

There's nothing worse than knowing that God's trying to get you to do this and deciding you're gonna do that and then being miserable inside because you know you didn't do what you were supposed to do. I hate that. I hate that feeling in me and I hate it bad enough that it's worth it to me to make every spirit-filled effort that I can to try to do what I believe that God wants me to do, amen?

Let me say that again, real freedom, is not the liberty to do anything that you wanna do anytime you wanna do it. It's the freedom to not have to if you know that not doing it is gonna actually be better in the long run than if you did it. C'mon, everybody give God a big clap today. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love and power and a sound mind, a spirit of discipline and self-control". Everybody stand up. Say, "I have self-control. I make good choices every day, all day. No matter how hard it is right now, I wanna benefit later on".

Father, I pray for everybody here, myself included, that each of us got something from what you spoke to us today. And that each of us will have at least one area that we can put before you where we can begin to improve and come up higher. Not because we have to, but because we want to. You already love us. We can't earn your love, we can't earn your favor. But we want to do everything we can do to glorify you and we want to please you in all of our actions, in Jesus' name.

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